by Seamus Heaney
A rowan like a lipsticked girl.
Between the by-road and the main road
Alder trees at a wet and dripping distance
Stand off among the rushes.
There are the mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens.
The Queen of Tarts-- One of My Favorite Bakeries in Dublin
Lately I’ve been obsessed with scones; today marks the second batch I’ve made in two weeks. I realize this isn’t a healthy obsession, but it’s possible I’ll make another round, and you may soon grow tired of me swooning over a baked good that’s essentially just flour, cream, and a smidgen of sugar.
When I lived in Ireland, I finally began to understand what scones are meant to be: fluffy, rich, perfect little vehicles for salted butter or homemade jam. In America, they’re often dry and lifeless– the hockey-pucks of pastry.
Here’s a simple and delicious recipe that comes close to rereating the deliciousness of Irish scones that I miss dearly. Not to mention all my Irish friends (and lady friends! Kels!), whom I miss even more! lv molly
P.S. These are delicious with currants or other berries. Simply add about a cup after you’ve mixed everything else.
P.P.S. No, they’re not missing butter. Look at the amount of cream.
NOTE: DON’T OVERMIX! It’ll break down too much starch, and the scones will become stiff and lifeless like morgue inhabitants. (That was a bit of a dark simile, huh?)
Perfectly Plain Scones
2 C flour, sifted (you may use 1 C all-purpose and 1 C whole wheat pastry flour)
1 Tbl baking powder
2 Tbl sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 C heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375. Sift dry ingredients. Add cream, and mix gently. Transfer to flat surface, and pat to 2 ” thickness. Cut into 6-10 triangular or circular scones. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with cream. Bake for 12 minutes.
After living in Ireland, where the potato aisle in the supermarket is the same size as the “other vegetables” aisle, you’d think I’d be sick of potatoes. Not so.
I don’t eat them often because they’re not that good for you. I heard that from Oprah, who apparently ate a lot of potatoes one month and then gained upwards of 10 lbs. I don’t trust Oprah on a lot of issues (she clearly doesn’t understand what the word memoir means), but I trust her on potatoes.
That being said, I’ve had a craving for them recently, and I don’t care what Oprah says. These twice-baked potatoes look like they’ll fit the bill. The addition of broccoli and the absence of sour cream, which I hate anyway, will quell my Oprah-induced anxieties and satisfy my craving. Enjoy, spud lovers! xo, m
Twice-Baked Potatoes with Broccoli, Cheddar, & Scallions
2 medium to large baking (russet) potatoes
2 small (or 1 large) broccoli crowns, cut into 1-inch florets with stems no longer than 1 inch (this is heavy on the broccoli, which sounds good to me. But if you don’t care about health and you don’t like broccoli, simply add less and feel guilty for the rest of the day.)
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, softened
½ cup buttermilk
1 scallion, sliced thinly
1 ounce (¼ cup) cheddar, plus ½ ounce (2 tablespoons)
Preheat oven to 400. Scrub your spuds and stab them (!!!) with a fork several times. Place them on the middle rack in the oven and bake until it’s not difficult to insert a fork into the potatoes, about 60-75 mins.
Remove spuds from oven and set aside ’til they’re cool enough that you won’t burn yourself. Heat up the broiler! Meanwhile, boil 1 inch of water in a large saucepan. Steam the broccoli until just a teensy bit tender. Remove broccoli and season with a pinch of salt and pepper and the lemon juice.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh of the potatoes. Mash the potato-insides with the butter. Stir in 1/4 tsp. of salt, a pinch of ground black pepper, the broccoli, plus the remaining ingredients except for 1/2 ounce cheddar.
Spoon the filling into the potato shells, and top with remaining cheddar. Broil them on a baking sheet until cheese is melted and tops are somewhat crispy. Eat with your lover next to a fireplace.
Who knew a great pro-gay-marriage ad would emerge from Ireland? Life’s full of surprises. The ad begs the question, “How would a straight person feel if he had to get an entire country’s approval to marry?” I hope countries on both sides of the Atlantic can embrace this argument and legalize gay marriage. Watch the video below. xo, m
Excerpt from The Stranger.
“In case you can’t see it, the commercial shows a young man knocking on a door to ask an older man for Sinead’s hand in marriage. The older man, who we assume is Sinead’s father, consents. Then the young chap goes to another door, asks an older woman, who also gives him permission. But then the young guy goes on to knock on every door in Ireland to ask for Sinead’s hand in marriage. (Surprisingly, people don’t seem bothered by the question because I’d be all, ‘Bugger off and put a ring on it.’)
As it clearly illustrates: It’s none of Ireland’s fucking business if this dashing young fellow marries Sinead, Shannon, or Padraic. His marriage is as inconsequntial to Ireland as two women getting married is to the denizens of California.”
Sometimes I miss it… Here are a few of my favorite pictures, all taken with a bad digital camera. I’ve really sold them, huh? xo, m
Trinity College. This was a pretty beautiful place to study.
Front Square @ Trinity College
St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Kevin's Monastery
The River Boyne, where, you guessed it, the Battle of the Boyne was fought